Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Use of Sights

Krupa posted this and asked me to re-post here:

As a professional trainer, I have come to the conclusion that shooters use sights 3 different ways during response to deadly force situations. I call them Sight Gears, as the shooter switches or changes “gears” in how they use their sights based on reaction to existing threats.

Sight Gear # 1 = Perfect Sight Alignment – Is considered a fine motor skill (based on fine, complex and gross motor skills) that is used under controlled conditions where the shooter is not subject to stress related factors that are conducive with the physiological response of the body under stress. The heart rate is under 140 BPM and the shooter is in control. This gear is most commonly used during shots involving distance (usually 25 yards and beyond) or surgical shot placement where the shooter needs to make a partial body shot or head shot on a threat up close.

Sight Gear # 2 = The Flash Sight Picture – This gear rules the world of gunfighting, especially with handguns. It is considered a complex motor skill where the shooter still has the ability to see / use their sights and is not affected by vasoconstriction. The heart rate is around 140 to 160 BPM and combat breathing is required to control the heart rate and flood the body with oxygenated blood to keep vasoconstriction at a minimum. The sight picture is no longer perfectly still during execution of the shot (usually due to dynamic action) and the front sight “wobbles” in the rear sight box, independently from the overall movement of the sight picture. Combat hits come quicker using this method, however, shot placement is managed by selecting an area to hit on the threat vs. a precise point of impact. We call this application Tactical Speed Shooting. This sight gear is most commonly used (again, with handguns) from 15 yards to as close as 2 yards.

Sight Gear # 3 = Front Sight Proximity Shooting – This gear is used when the shooters heart rate is roaring at about 165 to 180 BPM. The shooter is limited to gross motor skills and vasoconstriction has temporarily impaired the ability to focus on the front sight. Binocular focus / vision will remain on the threat until combat breathing reduces the heart rate to less than 160 BPM and oxygenated blood is restored back to the eyes. We call this Front Sight Proximity Shooting, as the top of the handgun and front sight area are visible to the shooter, but completely out of focus (when the pistol is at full extension and indexed on target). Using this technique, the shooter is conditioned to be aware of the handguns proximity in relation to the threat and is able to get multi-shot, devastating hits on the threat quickly by indexing the pistol to where the shooter is looking. When we run this drill in our pistol courses, we are seeing shooters, on average; get 6 hits on target, in about a 5” to 6” group of the threats center mass in 1.00 to 1.25 seconds! Conditioned shooters are applying 6 rounds in sub .80 times! This gear is most commonly used by shooters during spontaneous deadly force confrontations at 3 yards and in.

I don’t want to make this comment to long, but this is a general summary of what we teach based on real world synopsis of what happens during deadly force confrontations and how we fight while impaired by physiological stress factors.

Dozens of our students (including myself and several of our instructors) have used these techniques to WIN deadly force confrontations and they work!

I hope my input has contributed to the feedback you were looking for. Feel free to contact me if I can help you with any additional feedback.


John Krupa III
President / Director of Training
Spartan Tactical Training Group, LLC
ILETSB Master Firearms Instructor

What is interesting is that in competition we're forced to shift through all of these on almost every stage! - heck, Brian Enos talks a lot about this concept in his seminal classic, "Beyond Fundamentals", but calls it something slightly different.

To the uninitiated, learning to run the gun like this is baffling... You cannot consciously think about all of these variables! Only through training and stress-inoculation can the skill be developed to be used on-demand, subconsciously.